A Doomsday Prophet in the Age of Trump
TDS is the acronym. Trump Derangement Syndrome is the full name: a distaste for Donald Trump so severe that sufferers abandon all logic and reason, all sense of proportion. But what if the breakdown they dread is in truth out of the standard headline proportions, beyond the banality or the evil of one man in one office. Chris Hedges, a certified doom-monger, sees Donald Trump as one of many symptoms, like climate change, of a man-made virus of civilizational proportions, a sublime madness, in theological terms, a late-imperial drift into delusion, and self-destruction. He sees narcissism and nihilism, a spiritual crisis behind a political mask.
Chris Hedges – the war reporter and doom-sayer – brings us a solemn sermon of warning about the trouble we’re all in. His new book is titled America: The Farewell Tour. Donald Trump has a minor part in it. Chris Hedges got hooked on war assignments with The New York Times, hardened on battlefields in Latin America, Africa, the Balkans and nthe Middle East. He got some of his soul back studying theology and classical literature for his best-seller, War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning. The rush of battle, he has written, going back to ancient times in Homer and the Bible, is an often lethal addiction – it’s a drug he himself ingested for years. But it’s just one of the addictions Chris Hedges sees in our own country and culture today. His new book begins with a preface from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran priest and theologian who was executed by the Nazis in 1945 for his part in the anti-Hitler resistance. “The nothingness into which the West is sliding,” Hedges quotes Bonhoeffer’s last manuscript, is not a natural end, not the death or sinking of a community. It’s “a nothingness that is rebellious, violent, anti-God and anti-human… the utmost manifestation of all the forces opposed to God.” On our show, Chris Hedges locates his idea of ‘nothingness’ in our world today.
war correspondent and columnist at Truthdig